Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stretchy, stretchy

First of all, thanks so much for your comments on my last post. There was a definite string of similarities between everyone's advice, adding to that jme put up a brilliant post on her blog, Glenshee Equestrian Centre, with detailed instructions here. If you haven't seen that post yet and you've been in the same position I am, I highly suggest you read it. She broke the initial steps down very clearly, making it easy for me to figure out how to teach this to Coriander using a bit of clicker training.

As she suggested we started at the halt and I asked him to bend his neck. If he started to walk off I asked him to stop and bend again (we did that a few times). Once he figured out I wanted him to bend and not move, I could then wait for him to drop his nose. He got that part, but then he decided what I really wanted him to do was stab his nose downward. Um... not so much, this is supposed to be relaxing. So then I had to wait him out a bit, ignoring his frustration, until he finally dropped his nose and held it there for a second.

That's as far as we've gotten so far. I tried to do a bit at the walk but it was much too soon, he'll need at least a day or two more of practicing at the halt before we move on. But at least now I know where to start, thanks jme!

Gwen got ridden on Sunday, we worked on "whoa." Of course we first had to work on maintaining a walk before we could stop- she was much more interested in grazing than moving. That was just fine with me though, we needed to work on that anyway. If you teach one thing you have to teach the opposite too, right? Funny how that works. I thought about riding her tonight but she was anxious about something. I had to take her with me when I worked with her brother because she was giving me the distinct impression that if I left her behind she was going to try the fence. That's the first time I really felt that way since they've been here so I decided I better heed my gut feeling. I'll have to see how she feels tomorrow, I'd like to ride her and do some head lowering with Coriander- hopefully my plans won't go awry. The weather has been depressing lately, rain and rain and rain.
Recent theme: Wet


  1. Left a comment before but I think Blogger ate it when I went to edit. Anyway, sounds like you and Coriander are on the right track. This is exactly how we worked with Dusty. It took a very long time but it paid off in the end. Good work.

    I'm with you. When I get a gut feeling about something with the horses I usually listen to it. There will be plenty of other times for you and Gwen to do things together.

  2. so glad it seems to be working for you so far. it is a bit of a slow process in the beginning, but to me it's worth it because, once they get it, they've got it for good :-)

  3. I had to laugh at your "stab his nose" description. When I was working with my young Walker mare on "stand," I was paying so much attention to her feet not moving that I wasn't paying attention to what she was doing with her head. So for a long time Dove thought "stand" meant "don't move your feet but swing your head from side to side like a wacky metronome." Good grief, it took a long time and a lot of frustration on both our parts to get that figured out.

  4. Seems like it's working pretty well for you and Coriiander.
    We seem to have unrelenting rain here too. It's very frustrating.

  5. Ugh, sorry everybody, got sidelined by my head for a bit...

    GHM- thanks for backing up my gut feeling, sometimes you just have to listen to it.

    jme- that's wonderful! Must be like riding a bike, or moving like a bike... whichever ;)

    Fetlock- I've seen that a couple of times. Suspicious behavior I think it's been called, the key is the "clean up the loop" by rewarding the horse before they can start that strange behavior or sit through it until they stop and then reward.

    Ruffles- you've got rain where you are too? Isn't it depressing? It can stop now.